European Western Balkans

European Parliament adopts exemption of visa requirement for Serbian citizens residing in Kosovo

The European Parliament Plenary Session; Photo: European Union

STRASBOURG – With 406 votes in favour, 97 votes against and 94 abstentions, the European Parliament adopted the amendment to the Regulation as regards holders of Serbian passports issued by
the Serbian Coordination Directorate who reside in Kosovo, exempting them from visa requirements.

The amendment allows the EU to exempt the holders of these passports from visa requirement when crossing the external borders of the Member States for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.

The decision was previously adopted by the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

It has also received support from the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of Member States in the Council of the EU, which is a co-legislator in this procedure.

In his speech to the plenary, European Parliament Rapporteur for this report Matjaž Nemec stated that the Council had already adopted the decision and that the European Commission and the European External Action Service have supported it as well.

“Dear colleagues, this not a political issue, but a technical one. This is a continuation of the visa liberalisation which was adopted for Serbia already in 2009, for Kosovo since the beginning of this year. This decision is about making people’s lives better”, Nemec said.

He said that the decision is about 18.000 Serbian residents of Kosovo who hold passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate, who are the only category of citizens in the Western Balkans not enjoying visa-free regime.

“I believe there is no justification for that position, political or other. At its core, it is an issue of equal treatment and non-discrimination”, Nemec said.

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